4 cups of flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/3 cup of buttermilk (I curdle the milk using a 1/2 Tbsp. vinegar and 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice, but store-bought buttermilk works just as well.)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup softened butter
1 1/2 tsp. caraway
1 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and nutmeg. Cut in butter. The flour should be slightly yellow and look more grainy than powdery.
Add raisins and caraway seeds. Mix until all raisins are evenly coated with the flour mixture.
Gradually add the buttermilk. If the dough is too thick add a 1-2 tablespoons of milk, it should be the consistency of drop cookie dough.
Butter the inside of a cast iron skillet. Pour batter into the buttered skillet. In the batter draw a cross that is even on all sides. Bake for 1 hour.
Serving: Traditionally, although the soda bread is round it is not cut like a cake or a pie. It is sliced like regular bread parallel to a line in the cross until it you have reached the center and then it is turned and cut perpendicular to the original cuts. Customarily, the soda bread was wrapped in a linen dish cloth to be kept fresh now we are more likely to use tin foil.
Note: This recipe was brought over to America by my great-grandmother from Ireland and was a popular food eaten by peasants. As it has been passed down, small variations have been made to the recipe with each generation.